Milkshake Chats Builds Rapport
Even if it is simply lending a sympathetic ear or chatting over a milkshake, the impact Teagan Moore and her fellow mentors at First Foundation make is huge.
Teagan, who has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Psychology, recently completed her Post-graduate Diploma in Health Science on Preventing Violence and Trauma Recovery, along with a stint as an Assistant Programme Developer/Trainer at the Graeme Dingle Foundation.
With a little extra time on her hands, she said yes when First Foundation Chief Executive Officer Annette Fale shoulder-tapped her this year, asking her to become a mentor for the Foundation’s scholarship students.
The most critical aspect of the mentor’s role is assisting their mentee to manage a number of major transitions they face during their time with First Foundation, such as finishing secondary school and starting university, and finishing university and heading out into the workplace.
First Foundation looks for mentors who will be a guide or coach to the student they are matched with, as well as a wise friend, advisor, positive role model, and, most importantly, a listener and sounding board for the student.
Teagan (pictured (left) with Selu-Kian) was matched with Class of 2017 Scholarship student Selu-Kian Faletoese, whose Scholarship Partner is Sky City Entertainment Group.
The new mentor says she had a few concerns initially, mainly about whether or not she and Selu would ‘click’ and continue to hit it off moving forward.
“However, these concerns naturally disappeared when we met at events set up, or meeting for a chat over a chocolate milkshake,” Teagan says. “We have discovered we have many similarities, and there is plenty of laughter when we are together.”
First Foundation mentors are there to walk alongside their mentee as they transition into university and make the most of the First Foundation programme; they help their mentee develop life skills to manage their workload and pressure; they assist towards the mentee’s goals and objectives for each year; they assist in obtaining additional resources for their mentee; and they improve their mentee’s ability to interact with people from various backgrounds and broaden their professional and supportive networks.
Mentors are required to commit for two years minimum, as well as attend a mentor training induction. They should meet at least once a month with their mentee in person, while being in regular contact via phone, email, or text – particularly in the first two years of the relationship.
Mentors also need to complete an online quarterly mentor feedback report on the progress being made in the mentoring relationship, communicate with the Student Support team, and take part in First Foundation’s Student-Mentor activities and networking events.
There are also benefits for mentors too, Teagan says. “As a mentor, you can journey along with someone, encourage them, and learn so much yourself.”
First Foundation is currently recruiting 150 mentors across the Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch regions, to help achieve its mission “to assist academically talented New Zealand students worthy of support to achieve their potential through tertiary education, and to prepare them to positively influence and benefit their communities".
Teagan encourages other people to get involved in the programme, even if they are nervous about joining it. “Relax and enjoy. Be yourself, set goals, and have fun along the way,” she says.
Visit www.firstfoundation.org.nz/become-a-mentor for more information on how to become a First Foundation mentor.
“As a mentor, you can journey along with someone, encourage them, and learn so much yourself.”